Friday, September 22, 2006
Jamie Olis, who initially received a sentence of 24 years (292 months total) for convictions of "securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy" arising from his "work as a tax lawyer and accountant at Dynegy Corporation," was resentenced today to six (6) years. The appellate court had affirmed his conviction, but not surprisingly vacated the sentence and remanded it for a new sentence. (Hon. Edith Jones writing the decision).That new sentence was issued today by the same judge who initially sentenced him. (see Bloomberg here)
The key factor to be determined in resentencing was how to value the fraud loss. Olis' Sentencing Memorandum begins with the recognition that Richard Adelson, former President of Impath, received a sentence of 42 months despite a sentencing guideline that called for life. In the opening portions of this Memorandum, the defense argues that "Mr. Olis' case similarly calls for a sentence below the prosecution's suggested Guideline range, both because its 'loss' figure is unreliable and because of section 3553(a)." The Memo is accompanied by a declaration of Professor Joseph A. Grundfest of Stanford Law School.
This new sentence is clearly a tribute to the judge who re-evaluated the sentence after the Fifth Circuit's decision and in an honorable way dropped the sentence initially issued.
But a question that definitely needs to be considered and addressed by Congress and the courts is whether the government should have this enormous prosecutorial power to leverage individuals against each other in order to obtain evidence for a prosecution on the individual who decides not to enter a plea. Is it within the bounds of the Constitution to punish individuals with higher sentences because they decide they want to use their constitutional right to a jury trial? Noteworthy here is that no other individuals at Dynegy were charged with criminal or civil conduct, except Gene Foster (Olis' boss) who received a sentence of 18 months and Helen Sharkey who received one month. One thing that can be said in light of this new sentence, is that a message is at last being sent that the risk of taking the chance of going to trial has been substantially diminished. This is good for many reasons such as obtaining truthful testimony in trials.